The LTC facility I'm doing my clinicals at has a "memory" unit. I've never dealt with people with memory problems. Do you have any tips or tricks for me to use when I do a rotation in this unit?
Mar 9, '07
What a fantastic opportunity, I love working with the memory care residents.
Agitation seems to happen for four reasons, need of food, need of bathroom, need of activity, and pain.
When someone refuses cares as long as they are safe let them be and re-approach in 10-20 minutes. It seems like such a little time won’t make a difference, but it does. If that doesn’t work have someone else approach, sometimes it just takes a different face.
Be patient and be willing to break simple tasks down into step by step instructions. There will be times you may need to break down something like sitting on the toilet step by step. “Okay let’s have you walk to this point.” “Now turn around and face this direction.” Takes awhile, but it gets the task done and helps alleviate the resident’s frustrations.
Touch is also very important in this group of people. Touch is great for helping reassure a resident. It’s also needed for cuing. Tapping someone’s side when you say, “I say you need to step to your left” or tapping someone’s foot and saying “Pick up this foot and move it.” Really helps.
Don’t try to orient anyone just enter their world. If they are looking for their mother, chances are their mother is no longer around. It’s cruel to tell them their mother is dead it just restarts the mourning process. Instead use it to open up conversation about their mother. If they want to go home ask about their home. Open up reminiscing conversations. Most of the time this eases agitation. You also get to learn a lot of neat things about the resident.
The most important thing to remember is that negative behaviors aren’t about you or who the resident is, but instead they are apart of the disease. Don’t take anything personally and don’t make judgments about a resident based upon their behaviors.
Mar 10, '07
With a dementia patient, always arrive where they are at that moment in time, and never try to strong arm them out of it. Join in, so to speak, then lead them where they need to be, gently.